Professor of Strategy
Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour
Employee Mobility; Networks; Foreign Experience; Creative Performance; Boundary-spanning
Research abstractLosing key employees to competitors is a type of external boundary-spanning activity which may benefit an organization through access to external knowledge, but also increase the risks of leaking its own knowledge to competitors.The authors propose that the destination of departed employees is a crucial contingency: benefits or risks only materialize when employees leave for competitors that differ from the focal organization along significant dimensions, such as country or status group.In the context of the global fashion industry, the authors find that key employees’ moves to foreign competitors could increase (albeit at a diminishing rate) their former employers’ creative performance. Furthermore, firms may suffer from losing key employees to higher- or same-status competitors but may benefit from losing them to lower-status competitors.
Managerial abstractLosing key employees to competitors can provide organizations with access to external knowledge, but increase risks of leaking knowledge to competitors.The authors find that an organization's access to external knowledge through employee mobility and the risks of knowledge leakage may be affected by whether its employees leave for competitors in a foreign country or in a different status group.In the context of the global fashion industry, the authors show that key employees’ moves to foreign competitors increase (up to a point) their former employers’ creative performance. Furthermore, firms may suffer from losing key employees to higher- or same-status competitors but benefit from losing them to lower-status competitors. Hence, executives in creative industries and possibly beyond could welcome losing employees to competitors in foreign countries or to lower-status competitors.